The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How Friar Giles was miraculously provided for in his great need, when by reason of the snow he could not go to beg alms
FRIAR GILES being at Rome and sojourning in the house of a Cardinal, when the greater Lent drew nigh, found not that quiet of mind which he desired, and said unto the Cardinal: "My father, by your leave I desire for my peace to go with my companion to keep this Lent in some solitary place". Messer the Cardinal made answer: "Alas! my dearest friar, whither wouldst thou go? The famine is sore in the land, and as yet ye are strangers here, be ye content, I pray you, to abide in my court, for it will be for me a singular privilege to cause to be given unto you, for the love of God, that whereof ye have need." But Friar Giles was determined to go; and he departed from Rome, and went into a high mountain where of old time there had been a town, and he found there a deserted Church, which was called after St. Lawrence; and he and his companion entered therein, and continued in prayer and in much meditation; and, since they were not known, they received but little reverence and devotion; wherefore they suffered great want; and in addition thereto there came a great snowstorm which lasted many days. They were not able to leave the Church and nothing was sent them to
eat, and they themselves had nothing; and they remained so shut up for three whole days and nights. Friar Giles, perceiving that he could not live by the labour of his hands and that he could not go out to beg alms, said to his companion: "Dearest brother mine, let us call upon our Lord with a loud voice, that of His compassion He may provide for us in our great extremity and need; for once certain monks being in great need called upon God and the Divine Providence supplied all their wants". Wherefore, after the ensample of those monks, they betook themselves to prayer, beseeching God with all their hearts that He would help them in their so great need. God, who is highest pity, regarded their faith and simplicity and fervour on this wise. A certain man, as he looked toward the Church where were Friar Giles and his companion, being inspired of God, said within himself: "Peradventure there are in that church some good persons who are doing penance, and who, by reason of this exceeding great snow, lack the necessities of life, and are therefore like to die of hunger"; and, being moved thereto by the Holy Ghost, he said: "Of a surety I will go thither to learn whether my imagination be true or no"; and he took slime loaves and a vessel of wine and set out on his way; and with exceeding great difficulty he came unto the Church aforesaid, where he found Friar Giles and his companion praying most devoutly; and they were so much worn with hunger that their appearance was rather that of dead men than of living. He had great compassion on them, and, when they were refreshed and comforted, he returned and told unto his neighbours the extremity and great need of these friars and urged and besought them for God's sake to provide for them: wherefore many, after his ensample, brought them
bread and wine and other things necessary for their sustenance, for the love of God; and through all that Lent they took such order among them that they were provided for in their necessities. And Friar Giles, considering the great mercy of God and the charity of those folk, said unto his companion: "My dearest brother, even until now have we prayed God that He would provide for us in our need, and we have been heard; therefore is it meet that we give Him thanks and glory, and pray for those who have fed us with their alms and for all Christian people". And for his great fervour and devotion, God granted so much grace to Friar Giles that many, after his ensample, left this blind world, and many others which were not minded to be religious did very great penance in their own homes.